Nursing Reflection: An Ethical-Legal Challenge

Introduction

This exercise aims to comprehend an ethical-legal challenge that I experienced during my clinical attachment at the radiology department at King Fahad Hospital. I applied the theory I learned at Curtin University in this situation. Moreover, I also used a problem-solving and reflective practice approach to complete this task successfully. The problem-solving approach I used took the following steps:

Reflection provides an opportunity for a learner to pass from one stage of problem-solving to the next. However, a problem-solving approach is highly flexible and does not conform to the above-fixed pattern because the most important aspect of a problem may only be evident after investigating the initially identified issues (Problem Solving Framework, n.d). I used this model of problem-solving as a model to get a good point of view for understanding the ethical-legal challenge I experienced during my practice.

Summary of the case

A 45-year old patient reported to the hospital at the radiology department for an abdomen x-ray. The patient underwent a diagnosis for the problem. The physician advised the patient that there was no problem with the report. Hence, the patient left the hospital and did not report for further examination.

However, after one year, the same patient was reported to the hospital with further complications in the abdomen. He was complaining of swelling in the abdomen, pain, constipation, dark blood in the stool, and weight loss. A physician requested an abdomen x-ray for the patient, which revealed that the patient had colon dilation, gas, and abnormal mass. A physician conducted further tests to explore the possibility of colon cancer in the patient, which the physician confirmed.

The patient underwent chemotherapy treatment, but he died after a few months. However, before the death of the patient, the family of the patient filed a complaint against the radiologist who misinterpreted the result a year ago. The family complained against the radiologist’s negligence in the diagnosis of cancer, delayed diagnosis, and treatment.

Conclusion

I reviewed the case through consulting academic materials, staff, and researching reading results x-rays. Consequently, I concluded as follow:

  • The radiologist was not negligent. The experts who would review the matter shall have the benefit of hindsight. Thus, an accurate ruling may not be possible in a court of law. The doctors shall not be held liable after conducting the Bolam test and applying the duty of care principle.
  • Concerning comments from experts in this area, hindsight bias is an important factor in detecting cancer. Moreover, it is necessary to account for error rates in reading cancer x-rays because of high rates of error occurrences.

I believe that a patient has the responsibility of contacting the physician when he or she feels that the condition has not improved. At the same time, the physician should also observe utmost care while conducting a diagnosis in situations where there are doubts about the health status of the patient.

This case helped me to comprehend how we can use a theoretical concept in problem-solving. In addition, I also learned how to use a reflective process in a study and formulate solutions that can bring substantial changes and improve health care outcomes in the area of radiology.